Friday, October 30, 2009

In the News: "From farm field to cotton mill: The making of America's denim"

A hat tip to my friend Dusty for this story. Glad to see that denim is still being made here in the great state of Georgia. If only it wasn't being shipped south of the border to make the jeans.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blog of Note: My Parents Were Awesome

The website My Parents Were Awesome is great for so many reasons. It's like The Sartorialist meets SEXY PEOPLE meets the LIFE Magazine Photo Archive meets your family reunion. Enjoy some recent highlights.

The Best Dressed Cook in America

Photo credit: Boston Globe
Easily the Best Dressed Cook in America is Christopher Kimball--founder, editor and publisher at Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazines and host of the America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country shows on PBS. Always wearing his signature bow tie and suspenders, this guy is as well-dressed as Guy Fieri is poorly dressed. Aside from being well dressed, though, he knows a lot about cooking. He's got a serious Vermont attitude and doesn't take crap from anyone. He also raises and slaughters his own pigs, and makes his own maple syrup. I think that his cooking shows are some of the best on TV right now, so check your local PBS listings to find out when it's on.

Photo credit: Boston Herald
If you're interested in learning more about Mr. Kimball and his cooking media empire, check out this recent article from the Boston Globe.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New jeans: Gap "Authentic" fit

I bought some new jeans this weekend. Since I was still not ready to drop $150 on APCs, I decided to go with Gap's (relatively) new "Authentic" fit in the Resin Rinse color. I'm quite happy with these jeans so far. For the Authentic fit, Gap combined the narrow leg of their Straight fit with the higher rise of their Standard fit. In doing so, they created the Goldilocks of jeans that have a narrow thigh (Gap calls them "slim") but come with a decent rise. In other words, they created a slimmer jean for those who don't want to (or can't) wear skinny jeans. The color is very dark blue with no artificial wear marks (whiskering, fading, etc.) on them. They also have back pockets without any stitching on them, and the only label on them is "1969" painted on the band right waistband, easily covered up with a belt.

While it would have been nice to get the selvage version of these jeans (my friend who works at Gap corporate fell through for me on this--bad job, Matt), they're not sold in most stores, and the $55 price tag for the regular version is hard to beat. If you are in the market for a new pair of jeans, and aren't ready to take the step up to "premium" denim, I would highly recommend these. I think that these are just as good as any of the jeans that J. Crew is selling--in cut, color, and quality--and cost half as much. After all, if you're going to buy a pair of jeans non-selvage made in China, why spend 100 bucks?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"He can speak Russian."

The Most Interesting Man in the World is my role model. Please enjoy this 7:38 of his magnificence.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Recommended: "Paranormal Activity"

Last night I went to the 11:55 showing of the new horror movie Paranormal Activity. I've got to say, this is probably the scariest film I have seen since The Blair Witch Project.

The movie is about a couple who have had some strange happenings in their house lately--unexplained noises, things being moved, etc.--so the boyfriend, Micah (pronounced "Meekah," which is pretty stupid) decides to buy a video camera in order to hopefully capture the source of these disturbances. The couple sets up the camera in their bedroom when they go to bed at night, and that is when things start to get interesting (in a paranormal way, that is). The entire movie is seen from the perspective of that camera (note that it isn't in the bedroom entire time) over the course of several weeks.

You may not have heard much about this movie because it was initially released in a very limited number of theaters before finally getting a wide release a few weeks ago. You can read more about it on Wikipedia, but I suggest not doing that until after you see the movie. While I am tempted to write more about it, but I don't want to give too much away. I will say that if you are as skeptical of the poor excuses for horror movies that have been coming out over the past decade or so (every Saw movie, for example), I don't think that you will be disappointed here.

As Halloween approaches, if you're looking for a scare I highly recommend checking it out. I would also recommend taking a date, that is assuming you can get your lady-friend to agree to see it and sit through the entire thing. Additionally, be sure to catch it while it is in theaters as the movie is pretty dependent on subtle (and not-so-subtle) noises, so taking advantage of the superior quality of movie theater sound systems is a near must.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Briary pipe shop in Birmingham

After seeing a couple of pipe posts on some other blogs (here and here), I was reminded of my days back in Birmingham when I first got into pipe smoking. Fortunately, Homewood (a suburb of Birmingham) boasts one of the best pipe shops, I would say, in the entire country.

Housed in a 100+ year old farm house (and featuring one of the two working outhouses in the city of Homewood), a trip there is a must if you are going to be in the Birmingham area. The store features hundreds, if not thousands, of pipes, ranging from corncobs to $1,000+ pipes crafted by one of the store's owners, Skip Elliot.

Speaking of the owners, they and the rest of the staff are great guys--laid back and friendly. They are just as helpful if you are buying your first or fiftieth pipe. They have dozens of tobaccos, including house blends (try the Yorkshire or Black Gold), a sizable walk-in humidor, and just about every pipe or tobacco accessory one could ask for. Plus, they have a living room with leather furniture where regulars often come to chat and smoke.

Their website, while rather aesthetically humble, is actually pretty great and you can purchase many of their pipes and tobaccos online. For more info, check out an article that was written about the store in Birmingham's Black & White paper.

None of the photos were taken by me; they are all from the Briary website

Friday, October 16, 2009

How to wear a scarf

Fortunately scarf weather seems to have finally arrived in Georgia. In spite of owning six scarves, I always feel a bit self-conscious wearing them, and feel like I never do a good job of tying them. For a bit of inspiration, I looked to the men featured on The Sartorialist over the years, as there have certainly been a number of them wearing scarves. Here are some of my favorites:

All images from The Sartorialist

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Miles Fisher cover of "This Must Be the Place"

Man, this is awesome. Not only is "This Must Be the Place" probably my favorite Talking Heads song, but Miles Fisher's cover of it is fantastic (as a side note, Miles played Kinsey's preppy drug-dealer friend, Jeffrey Graves, on the third episode of season 3 of Mad Men). However, combined with reenactments from American Psycho (which are only enhanced by Fisher's uncanny resemblance to Christian Bale), this has to be one of the greatest music videos of all time. Parts of it border on NSFW, though, but be sure to watch it when you get home. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Guest post on the R and R Review

Christopher Robinson and BA Roof were kind enough to allow me to do a guest post on their blog, the R and R Review. I wrote a review for last night's episode of The Office, also known as "the wedding episode." Be sure to check it out, and to check out the rest of their blog while you're at it, especially if you live in Atlanta.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kitanica jackets

The Kitanica Mark IV in Foliage

I have long been a fan of the show Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel. It is one that I always find both interesting and entertaining, and who can complain about all of the stuff that they blow up with high explosives? Anyways, I was watching an old episode yesterday and noticed the jacket that host Adam Savage was wearing. I thought it looked pretty nice, and unlike any I had seen before. Upon Googling it, I discovered that there has been a lot of virtual ink spilled over this jacket, and also found out that it is the Mark IV jacket made by a company called Kitanica.

Kitanica is actually based out of California (where the show is filmed), and Adam had obtained the jacket from the company's founder, Beej Cronin, some years back. The jacket, apparently, had been somewhat of a side-project for Cronin, who eventually went back to teaching. Well, it seems that after people saw the jacket on Mythbusters, there was so much demand for it that Cronin, along with his brother and cousin, started making the jackets again.

The Kitanica Mark I in Foliage

There are two models currently available, the Mark I and the Mark IV. The Mark I is a little more stripped-down, while the Mark IV is clearly the Cadillac of technical jackets. It is made of 1000 Denier Cordura (meaning that it is extremely durable), features a recoil pad, numerous pockets, rib pad, and a spine pad for to make it "easier to crawl under obstacles on your back." Asides from all of these features, it is simply one of the most badass jackets ever manufactured. Plus, it is made in American and has a lifetime warranty.

The Mark IV in ACU Camo

All of this, of course, comes with a hefty price tag as the Mark IV costs $600 while the Mark I comes in at a more economical $500. I don't actually participate in any activities that require anything this extreme, but if I could only have one "technical" jacket for the rest of my life, this is what I would want.

The Mark I in Black

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Breaking News: Kings of Leon to compete for "Worst Band of 2009"

NASHVILLE- The band Kings of Leon announced this morning that they are officially entering into the contest for "Worst Artist of 2009." While this does not come as much of a surprise to music insiders who suspected that the band might enter after their heinous 2008 singles "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody," it does represent significant competition for those hoping to claim the title this year. The band, consisting of the Followill brothers from Nashville, TN, have released two singles in 2009, which combined with their 2008 releases, mean that their music is providing a constant aural assault on radio stations across the country.

Leader singer, Anthony "Caleb" Followill, explained "We think 2009 could really be our year. With no major 2009 releases from artists like Kid Rock or Nickelback, we believe that we, quite possibly, have the worst music playing on the radio right now. Whether we win or not, that's really something to be proud of."

Unlike artists Kid Rock or Nickelback who specialize in aggressive, "in-your-face" douchebaggery, Kings of Leon's reputation for terrible music comes from sheer mediocrity. According to Jennifer Hernandez, writer for Rolling Stone, "We haven't seen music this unoriginal and lame since Three Doors Down. What Kings of Leon are doing right now represents a significant achievement in uninspired rock music that will be hard to top."

Despite what appears to be a strong position in this year's contest for Worst Artist, there does remain stiff competition. After releasing their latest album, No Line On The Horizon in December of 2008, U2 has released three singles in 2009, including the atrocious "Magnificent" and the lyrical masterpiece "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight." When asked about this opposition for the title, guitarist Cameron "Matthew" Followill replied "Of course we're aware of U2. They've been sucking for a long time now, at least since Pop back in '97. And the garbage that they've put out this year has been really bad. But we're not going to let that get us down. I mean, have you heard "Sex on Fire"? It's abominable. We've just got to get out there, play the most boring music we possibly can, and know that we've got this thing in the bag. We're rockstars after all."

Kings of Leon's latest suckfest, Only by the Night, can be purchased on Itunes, or heard every 15 minutes on at least four of your local radio stations.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ellie's Bow Ties

Several months back, a member on a certain men's clothing forum that I frequent posted a picture of a bow tie that his wife had recently made for him using leftover seersucker material. We were all quite impressed, and a little later he came back to us to let us know that his wife had made some more bow ties, if any of us were interested in one. After that, they began offering more choices in fabric as well as options for customization (length, width, shape, etc.). Since then, Ellie LaVeer's cottage business seems to have taken off. There was an article about her in The State, Columbia, SC's newspaper, and there is an interview with her over on E.J. Forbes' blog.

You can check out her current selection at In addition to bow ties, she is now making ascots and pocket square, and she can convert your long ties into bow ties for only $23 (something I hope to be taking advantage of in the future). Speaking of prices, they are hard to beat as all bow ties are $23, which includes shipping, though you will have to pay sales tax if you are in South Carolina. While I have not personally tried one of her bow ties (yet), I have seen plenty of pictures and read enough testimony to give them a high recommendation.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Blog of Note: Components of Enthusiasm

Came across this blog tonight. I like the content, and really like the aesthetic. I especially like the interesting finds he has from Etsy. Check it out.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

DIY RL Rugby Colored Denim

OK, so I will admit that I occasionally check out the New Room (a.k.a.-blog) over on the Rugby website. I like the Who Wears it Best posts, in particular, and while nearly everything they're wearing is made up of completely over-the-top combinations that hopefully no one (other than RL employees) would actually wear, sometimes they do have some interesting stuff. Well, a couple of months back I saw this image

from this Who Wears it Best post, and the featured item was the Vintage Slim Colored Denim. While most of these guys look pretty laughable, I kind of liked the idea of Nantucket red-colored jeans. They seemed like a good substitute for Nantucket reds that could work in situations wear where reds might not normally work, and could possibly be worn into colder months than reds traditionally are. So I checked them out on the Rugby website and saw that they are asking a whopping $108 for these jeans. That's a little rich for my blood, and after checking on the J. Crew and Gap websites to see if they were offering anything comparable (they weren't), I kind of shelved the idea.

The other day I was flipping through the latest Lands End catalog and saw that they are offering colored jeans, including a pair in a "Light Stone" color which are nearly white. I was thinking to myself "Who in the world actually wears white jeans?" when it occurred to me that the white jeans could serve as a base for making my own pair of the jeans from Rugby.

So, this is my new DIY project, however, it requires first obtaining a pair of white jeans. After visiting five or six thrift stores last week, I was actually somewhat surprised that I was unable to find any as this seemed like the kind of item that would be relegated to a thrift store, never to be purchased. I will likely continue looking at thrift stores, and will keep my eye on Ebay, though I haven't found many pair for less than $30, which still seems higher than I want to pay. I'm thinking more like $6.

Once the jeans are obtained, then will come the process of dyeing them. I have done a little research, though most queries on the internet are usually from people who want to redye blue jeans, and that is not what I am trying to do. It seems like this could be somewhat difficult in trying to get them to not appear like a pair of pink jeans, but I will cross that bridge when I get there. If anyone has any tips on dyeing, I would appreciate hearing them.